Weekend Briefing: 'Resident Evil' Shoots for 3D Resurrection

by Brandon Gray

September 10, 2010

This weekend, Resident Evil: Afterlife is the sole new nationwide release and will handily claim the top spot, striking approximately 4,700 screens at 3,203 locations. That includes 2,062 locations showing the picture in the regular 3D illusion and 141 in IMAX 3D, ranking as one of the larger 3D releases.

The latest entry in the video game-based action horror franchise follows the September strategy of the last two movies. Resident Evil: Extinction nabbed $23.7 million on around 3,500 screens at 2,828 locations on its first weekend back in Sept. 2007, while Resident Evil: Apocalypse grabbed $23 million at 3,284 locations on the same post-Labor Day weekend in 2004. The first Resident Evil debuted to $17.7 million back in Mar. 2002.

Adjusted for ticket price inflation, Resident Evil's openings have ranged from $24 million to $29 million and its total grosses from $55 million to $65 million. The second movie, Apocalypse, was the high end on both fronts, while the last movie, Extinction, was in the middle. The franchise has been a consistent draw thus far.

Resident Evil: Afterlife aims to kick the grosses up a notch with its 3D presentation, much like The Final Destination did relative to its franchise last year. As if the marketers sensed that 3D may be losing its luster and that distinction needed to be made from the 2D-to-3D conversions, Afterlife's advertising has emphasized that the movie is not only in 3D, but that it was filmed with "the world's most advanced 3D technology," presumably the same that was used for Avatar. One of the slogans is "The Afterlife Begins in the Latest 3D Technology." Replete with a shot of what looks like 3D glasses flying out of the screen, the 3D still comes off as a crutch, only a more verbose one.

Other than the 3D, Resident Evil: Afterlife appears to be more of the same, and the advertising merely proclaims that "Alice (Milla Jovovich) is back," accompanied by more techno-mutant action as Alice once again battles the franchise's overall boogeyman, the Umbrella Corporation. That means that Afterlife is not likely to appeal beyond the fan base.

In Box Office Mojo's "when will you see it" reader polling, Resident Evil: Afterlife has scored close to 30 percent for "opening weekend." That's higher than Resident Evil: Extinction's nearly 26 percent, and the two pictures had the most comparable voting pattern of all similar movies. If Afterlife's voting translates to box office in the same way as Extinction, it would have an opening weekend in the high $20 million range.

Last Weekend
'The American' Out-Draws The Mexican

This Timeframe in Past Years:
2009 - Perry 'Can Do' Good at the Box Office
2008 - 'Burn After Reading' Tops the Box Office
2007 - 'Brave One' Leads Slow Weekend
2006 - 'Gridiron Gang' Tops Flabby Weekend
2005 - 'Just Like Heaven' No Cure for Box Office Blahs

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